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tv   1944 Film A Challenge to Democracy  CSPAN  February 1, 2015 9:25pm-9:45pm EST

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mention the mexican currency bailout -- lots of issues not everyone, but lots of issues came out well. >> thank you very much to our panel. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] >> every sunday at 8:00 p.m. and midnight eastern, learn from leading historians about presidents and first ladies, their policies and legacies here on "the presidency." to watch our programs or check our schedule, visit www.c-span.org/history. you are watching american history tv, every weekend on c-span3. >> the political landscape has changed with the 114th congress. not only are there 43 new
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republicans and 50 new democrats in the house, there is also 108 women in congress, including the first african-american republican in the house and the first woman veteran in the senate. keep track of the members of the senate using congressional chronicle on www.c-span.org. new congress, best access on cspan, c-span2, c-span radio and www.c-span.org. >> each week american history tv's reel america brings you archival films that help tell the story of the 20th century. february 19, 1942, president roosevelt issued executive order 9066, leading to a forced relocation and internment of over 100,000 people of japanese ancestry who lived on the west coast of the u.s. 62% of the internees were american citizens.
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a challenge to democracy from 1944 is a 20 minute war relocation authority film which attempts to justify the policy by showing the internment process and living conditions in the camps, sometimes admitting that there were problems, but are frequently glossing over the many negative aspects of forced relocation. ♪ >> evacuation -- more than 100,000 men, women, and children of japanese ancestry removed from their homes in the pacific coast states to wartime
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communities established in out-of-the-way places. their evacuations did not imply individual disloyalty, but designed to reduce the military hazard at a time when danger of invasion was great. 2/3 of the evacuees are american citizens by right of birth. the rest are there japanese born parents and grandparents, who are not under suspicion. they are not prisoners. they are not internees. they are merely dislocated people, the unwounded casualties of war. the time, spring and summer of 1942. the place, 10 different relocation centers in unsettled parks of california, arizona utah, idaho, wyoming, colorado and arkansas. the relocation centers are supervised by the war relocation authority, which assumed responsibility for the people after they had been evacuated and cared for temporarily by the army. the relocation centers, housing
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7,000 to 18,000 people barrack-type buildings divided into compartments. 12 or 14 resident buildings to a block. each block provided with a mess hall, bathhouse, laundry building, and recreation hall. about 300 people to a block. the entire community bounded by a wire fence and guarded by military police, symbols of the military nature of the evacuation. each family upon arrival was assigned to a single room compartment, about 20 by 25 feet. barren, unattractive. a stove, a light bulb, cots, mattresses, and blankets. those were the things provided by the government. the family's own furniture was in storage on the west coast. scrap lumber, perhaps some wall boards, and a great deal of energy, curtains, pictures
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depending on the family's own ingenuity, helped make the place livable. some families built partitions for privacy. others took what they received and made the best of it. 300 or so residents of each block meet at a mess hall, cafeteria style. rough wooden tables for benches. the food is nourishing, but simple. a maximum of $.45 per day per person is allowed for food, and the actual cost is considerably less than this. an increasing amount of the food is produced at the centers. a combination of oriental dishes, and of american type dishes to satisfy those born in america. lands that had never been occupied or farmed were chosen for most of the relocation centers. most of the land was covered
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with desert growth, or with timber in the case of the arkansas centers. it had to be cleared before farming could start. then it had to be leveled, and irrigation ditches laid out or rebuilt so the people could produce their own food. then came the plowing, and preparation of the soil, and planting. a few of the centers had crops in 1942. in 1943, all of them. about half of the evacuated people were farm folk, skilled producers of vegetables, fruits, and other crops. they had made desert land productive before, and around the relocation centers they could and did do it again by the application of hard work and water for irrigation. at the two centers in arkansas they introduced western type irrigation and succeeded in producing vegetables in the heat of midsummer, when ordinary production methods are not successful. tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers corn, melon, and many other
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crops have been grown on land that a year or two years ago was unproductive. food production is aimed at self support for the relocation centers. it does not go onto the open market. from the field it goes to the center warehouse. from there it may go to the kitchen, or it may be shipped to other centers. the arizona centers are most productive in winter. the others produce only in summer or fall. vegetable crops are exchanged. besides the workers engaged in farming, it takes many others to handle food in the warehouses, in transportation, in the kitchen. to keep the rolling equipment, cars, trucks, and tractors and operation, it takes mechanics and machinists. water mains have to be laid and repaired. roads, sanitation systems, and buildings have to be maintained. at the arkansas center, the land is covered with trees, and the clearing process provides lumber
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for construction and fire wood for heating. those who work are paid. wages, by outside standards, are low. $12 a month for beginners, 16 dollars a month for most of the workers, and $19 for professional people such as doctors or other unskilled or difficult work. the workers also received a small cash allowance for clothing. the money received lets the evacuee buy things not provided by the government. most have had to draw on their savings to live as they would like to. in each center, a cooperative business association operates stores which handles clothing, toilet articles, and the merchandise which would be needed in any community. the co-ops also run barbershops, beauty parlors, shoe repair shops, and other services for the community. when the school bell rings, it is a signal for the students in wyoming to change classes.
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the school curriculum meets the standards of the state where the center is located. in mathematics, american history, geography, the fundamentals of an american education. this is a class in mathematics. and a rhythm class of fifth grade pupils. in the modern school, many subjects are added to reading, writing, and arithmetic as part of the schoolwork. some of the teachers are caucasian. some are evacuees. the first graders in this class, taught by an evacuee teacher are making color drawings which will decorate the walls of their barrack building classrooms, the same kind of beautifully clumsy drawings that can be found in almost any first grade room. in the high schools, vocational training gets plenty of attention. scientific farming studied in school and in the field. older boys are learning trades. they use them first as part of the regular work of the
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relocation center as welders mechanics, machinists, frequently learning to do the necessary jobs in the relocation center have led to better jobs outside. health protection is part of the obligation assumed by the government. evacuee doctors and nurses serve in the hospitals under the supervision of caucasians. dentists, oculists, and pharmacists also. the japanese professional men and women, most of them american citizens, have their own practices on the west coast before evacuation. many of them are now in the army medical corps, and others have replaced doctors and other health workers and communities outside the centers. the health service and relocation centers, in proportion to population, is about like that of any other american community in wartime, barely adequate. the evacuees have a form of community self-government which aids the administration of the community.
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a community council of evacuees is elected to make rules and regulations. anyone 18 years old or older is eligible to vote in the elections, which are carried on in the democratic manner. a judicial commission sits in judgment on minor offenses. attorneys among the evacuees represent the prosecution and the defense. a serious crime would be tried in the regular court outside the center. the crime rates among people of japanese ancestry in the united states always has been extremely low, and this has proved to be the case in the centers. after working hours, over weekends, the relocation center is the scene of baseball and softball games by the dozen. the teams are counted by the hundreds. the evacuees have provided practically all of their own equipment. little government money has been spent for strickland recreational purposes. -- strictly recreational
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purposes. in the fall, touch football is in season. and more quiet forms of recreation. the centers include many well-known artists, amateur and professional artists and craftsmen who use their spare time in creating beauty and many different forms. sunday church services, advance preparations include carrying the benches into the barrack building. most of the alien japanese are buddhist. almost half their children belong to some christian group. -- denomination. except for state shinto, there is no restriction on religion in relocation centers. boy scouts who usually provide a color guard for the american flag which floats over each center are typical of the american organization which are prominent in each relocation center. there is a uso club to provide entertainment for the japanese-american soldiers who come to the centers to visit their families or friends. girl scouts, camp fire girls
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parent-teacher associations, the red cross. evacuees belong to these organizations and their former -- in their former homes, and transplanted them to the centers. the boy scout drum and bugle corps is leading the harvest festival parade, marking the high point of the successful season of farm production. everyone turns out to view the beauty queen, see the well decorated floats, and join in the good time that goes with a full day of celebration. while they have many things in common with ordinary american communities, and the really important things, relocation centers are not normal and probably never can be. home life is disrupted. eating, living, and working conditions are abnormal. training of children is difficult. americanism, taught in the schools and churches and on the playgrounds, loses much of its meaning in the confines of a relocation center. when the war relocation authority was only a few months
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old, it was decided that relocation centers should not be maintained any longer than necessary. the first people to leave the relocation centers were volunteer workers recruited to help tend and harvest the sugarbeet crop of the western states. almost 1/10 of evacuees volunteered for this seasonal work in 1942. the result of their labors was a year's sugar ration for 10 million people. but work in the beet fields was temporary. most of the people returned to the centers. the war relocation authority has been more concerned with permanent relocation, getting the evacuees out of the backwaters of the relocation centers into the mainstream of american life so their labor can help to win the war, so the cost of the taxpayers may be reduced, so there can be no question of the constitutionality of any part of the action taken by the government to meet the dangers of war, so no law-abiding
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american need to fear for his own freedom. relocation of the evacuees is not being carried on at the sacrifice of national security. only those evacuees whose statements and whose acts leave no question of their loyalty to the united states are permitted to leave. all information available from intelligence agencies is considered in determining whether or not each individual is eligible to leave. those who were not eligible to leave have been moved to one center to live presumably for the duration of the war. the others established as law-abiding aliens are loyal americans are free to go whenever they like. thousands already have gone. here are a few of them. he is examining corn for insects in a field in illinois. he used to operate his own orchard in hollister california. machine work was a hobby. now it is his job. he's making precision parts for
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american bombers. she is an assistant head nurse. she has three brothers, all in the army. the tractor driver here used a farm near walnut grove california, and was evacuated to the center. this young machinist has learned his trade since he relocated to chicago. his boss said he learned it well. he is helping to make kitchen equipment. she paints miniature dolls in a midwestern studio. she used to live in colusa california, and then lived at the granada relocation center. in the background is cecilia who divides her time between working and attending college. he feeds the chickens on in illinois farm.
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joe and yoshi cultivate potatoes on a farm in the midwest. after living in the relocation center, ruth moved to chicago and has become a skillful operator. these young men spraying potatoes are from a relocation center. this boy liked the printing trade but had no chance to learn it until after he had left the relocation center. he's helping to print some of the nation's supply of magazines. american eggs are shipped all over the world to americans in the armed forces and to our allies. mary breaks eggs which are to be dried. in the same plant, john feeds the drying machine.
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jim used to be a clerk in madeira, california. now he is a candy maker in chicago. american flags, some of them for the armed forces, are turned out. she hopes that one of the flags she makes some day may be carried in triumph down the streets of tokyo. the produce business in watsonville, california used to be home to these boys. now they're in the produce business in denver. henry used to be a farmer in fresno, california. he moved to the middle west to make marshmallows. threshing oats is a new experience to ted. an artificial leg does not interfere with the way he handles a pitchfork. this young fellow, operating a book binding machine, is typical of the evacuees adjusting to new communities, getting along with
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their employers, fellow workers, and neighbors, and finding satisfaction in becoming self-supporting once more. the americanism of the great majority of america's japanese finds its highest expression in the thousands who are in the united states army. almost half of them are in a japanese-american combat team, created by order of the secretary of war early in 1943. some of the volunteers came from hawaii, some from the eastern part of united states mainland where there was no mass evacuation. hundreds of them volunteered while they were in relocation centers. volunteered to fight against the militarism and oppression of japan and germany. they know what they're fighting against, and they know what they are fighting for, their country, and for the american ideals part of their upbringing -- democracy, freedom, equality of

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